Impermium Study Unearths Consumer Attitudes Toward Internet Security

New Survey Reveals More than Half of US Internet Users Have Fallen Victim to Viruses or Malware; Three-Quarters Do Not Use Two Factor Authentication

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Impermium, the leading defender against account hijacking and account compromise, today released the results of a nationwide survey, analyzing sentiments towards cyber-security threats and prevention. The June study, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Impermium, explored Americans’ limited adoption of two-factor authentication, levels of worry related to account compromise, and preference for sites to offer less-disruptive forms of protection.

The current state of cyber-security has left US Internet users anxious about hacks and password theft. Despite constant victimization, the majority are not using two-factor authentication and are left without a widely accepted or deployed method of protection.

When asked about the overall concern related to account compromise, 79 percent indicated at least some level of worry around email account compromise, 55 percent around social media compromise, and 71 percent around bank account compromise. Despite the recent hype, consumers remain reluctant to adopt two-factor authentication, with 16 percent of Americans saying they have not signed in with this process in the past because it was inconvenient.

Impermium uncovered that while a majority of Americans have never signed into a website using two-factor authentication (75 percent), 77 percent of those who have not yet been a victim of account compromise are at least somewhat unlikely to continue using a site if their account were compromised. Additionally, while 65 percent of Americans have been victims of viruses, malware, and/or phishing attacks, only 25 percent have ever signed in with two-factor authentication as a preventive security measure. Further key findings include:

  • 75 percent of Americans have not used two-factor authentication in the past
    • 27 percent decided against signing onto a website with two-factor authentication because they did not want to disclose their mobile number and/or because they found it inconvenient
    • 30 percent say that they have never needed to do this
    • 20 percent did not want to disclose their mobile phone number
  • Respondents were split in terms of determining who is primarily to blame for account compromises
    • 39 percent believe websites are to blame by not offering or maintaining sufficient security features
    • 37 percent believe the consumer is to blame due to weak passwords or falling for scams like phishing
  • When asked which types of accounts they are most worried about getting hacked, Impermium learned email account compromise results in the most anxiety.
    • 79 percent are at least somewhat worried about having their email account compromised
    • 71 percent are at least somewhat worried about having their online bank accounts compromised
    • 55 percent of consumers are at least somewhat worried about having their social media accounts compromised

When asked how worried they are about cloud data compromise, 43 percent of Americans responded they are at least somewhat worried

  • A majority of consumers have been a victim of a listed online threat:
    • 56 percent of consumers have been a victim of a virus or malware infection on a computer
    • 37 percent have been a victim of a phishing attack
    • 26 percent have been a victim of account compromise (e.g., hacked, broken into, password theft)
    • 20 percent have been a victim of a social media phishing attack
    • 5 percent had a phone lost or stole that resulted in unwanted access to sensitive information

“Despite heightened awareness of cyber threats and a clear demand for account protection, Americans are still hesitant to adopt new prevention techniques,” said Mark Risher, CEO of Impermium. “Two-factor authentication has been held aloft as a ‘silver bullet,’ but a security system that isn’t turned on provides no security. Only with intelligent, risk-based authentication mechanisms can service providers effectively protect users from account hijacking. Consumers and websites need an intelligent solution that is secure yet simple.”

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Impermium from June 7-11, 2013 among 2,046 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Impermium

Impermium provides Internet security for the Cloud, defending against account hacking, account compromise, and other threats. Our system uses patented statistical and machine learning models and proprietary threat intelligence from more than 1,500,000 worldwide sites to provide real-time protection for top enterprises around the globe. Founded in 2010, the company is backed by investors including Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, Highland Capital Partners, and The Social+Capital Partnership.


Impermium PR Contact:
Lisa Langsdorf, 212-905-6218


Impermium PR Contact:
Lisa Langsdorf, 212-905-6218